AP NEWS

Lawyer accused of theft turns down plea deal

February 20, 2019

BRIDGEPORT - A local lawyer, who police said fled to New Jersey after stealing nearly $10,000 from a client here, rejected a plea bargain on Wednesday.

Alfred Cali, 61, who is charged with second-degree larceny, turned down a plea offer from Superior Court Judge Frank Iannotti of four years in prison, followed by five years’ probation and instead chose to go to trial.

“We are going to trial,” his lawyer, Thomas Cocco, said after the court hearing. “My client wants his day in court and he deserves his day in court.”

Cali was arrested by inspectors from the Statewide Prosecution Bureau in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney following a complaint by the Statewide Grievance Committee.

In 2016, Cali had been hired by a local man to handle his bankruptcy proceedings, according to court documents.

The local man paid Cali a $20,000 retainer and later Cali instructed him to write a check for cash for $9,614 which was to be used to pay off the man’s debt, the documents state. However, the documents state that Cali did not deposit the money into his trustee account as required and instead used the money for his own purposes.

Investigators later learned that Cali had left the area and was living in North Arlington, N.J.